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Washington State, which the week before had beaten Arizona State 24-21, upped its record to 4-0 by blowing out Pacific 31-0 in a non-conference matchup. That avenged the Cougars' 24-22 loss to the Tigers last season. It was the Cougars' best start since 1930, when they went to the Rose Bowl.
Stanford, which would have surprised few forecasters if it were 4-0, continued to confound the experts and oddsmakers by losing at Arizona 17-13. That made the Cardinals an inglorious 0-4. The Wildcats trailed 13-10 with five minutes remaining when they gambled on a fourth-and-four at the Stanford 42. Arizona got not only the four yards, it got all 42, on a pass from Tailback Brian Holland to Flanker Bob Carter, who rumbled the final 15 for a touchdown.
Four field goals by Norm Johnson, the passing of Tom Ramsey and a rugged defense led by Tackle Irv Eatman carried UCLA past Colorado 27-7. Johnson accounted for the first four scores with field goals of 30, 41, 31 and 44 yards. Ramsey passed for 258 yards and two touchdowns as he made good on 15 of 25 attempts. And the 6'6¼", 260-pound Eatman was the Bruin who led to the ruin of Randy Essington of the Buffaloes. In three previous games, Essington had passed for 770 yards while completing 61% of his throws. This time he was limited to 54 yards as he missed on 15 of his 25 passes. Although Eatman was credited with only four tackles, he hounded Essington all afternoon and personally broke up five passes.
With passing whiz Jim McMahon of Brigham Young sidelined by injured knees, Utah State showed up in Provo with high hopes for a victory in this out-of-conference matchup. The Aggies, using well-executed misdirection passes and draws, almost pulled it off. When it was all over, though, they were 32-26 losers and the Cougars had stretched their winning streak to 17 games, the nation's longest. Utah State drove 65 yards in the first quarter and took a 7-0 lead when Chico Canales teamed up with Nate Jones on a 14-yard touchdown pass. That marked the first time BYU had trailed this season. With Canales throwing two more scoring passes, the Aggies continued to make it a battle. Sophomore Steve Young, a great-great-great-grandson of Brigham Young, who took over at quarterback for McMahon, did a great, great, great job, completing 21 of 40 passes for 307 yards and one touchdown and rushing 18 times for another 63 yards. But he was also sacked six times for minus 46 yards. The play that made the difference came with 3:30 to go when BYU Linebacker Todd Shell picked off a Canales screen pass at the Aggie 10 and took the ball into the end zone.
When it came to wingdingers, San Jose State's 65-33 Pacific Coast AA triumph over Fresno State took the cake. Spartan Quarterback Steve Clarkson set a school record with six touchdown passes, and senior Wide Receiver Stacey Bailey broke the San Jose State mark for career receptions as he raised his total to 111. Among myriad other statistics were these: a combined 998 yards gained, 558 by the Spartans; Clarkson passed for 426 yards by completing 22 of 37 throws; and there were 35 penalties, San Jose State being assessed 135 yards and Fresno State 194.
Behind pass-happy at tacks, Florida State rocked Ohio State 36-27 and Illinois stunned Minnesota 38-29. And so, in the fourth week of the season, the Big Ten was without a single undefeated team.
"Our plan was to throw on every down, if necessary," said Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden, "throw underneath the coverage because their young secondary and linebackers drop very deep to protect." Quarterback Rick Stockstill followed Bowden's game plan to the letter, completing 25 of 41 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns. But also credit the Seminole defense. Leading 30-21 in the third quarter but with Ohio State first-and-goal from the Florida State two-yard line, the Seminoles shut the Buckeyes down cold. All told, Bowden's defense, which had given up a dismal 464 yards on the ground to Nebraska two weeks before, held the Buckeyes to 38 yards in 31 rushes. In attendance at Ohio Stadium was Florida Governor Robert Graham, whom the Seminoles have adopted as a good-luck mascot. Afterward, Bowden—whose team faces Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Miami in the next five weeks—kidded Graham, "You're booked for the rest of the season; we ain't letting you go."
Meanwhile, Illinois Coach Mike White, who has been saying the Illini need to establish a running game, is no longer so sure after Tony Eason threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns against Minnesota. The yardage was the most ever for an Illini quarterback, except Eason's immediate predecessor, Dave Wilson. "Looks like the days of trying to impress folks with our running game are over," White said. "We're back to the old offense."
Purdue's air tactics backfired against Wisconsin, which scored all of its points in the last quarter in beating the Boilermakers 20-14. Purdue led 7-0 and was on the Wisconsin 18-yard line when Badger Safety Matt Vaden Boom made a diving interception of a Scott Campbell pass. Wisconsin then drove 69 yards for a field goal and, following a Purdue fumble, marched 38 yards for the go-ahead touchdown, Fullback Dave Mohapp ramming in from the five. Wisconsin, which has already defeated Michigan, next meets Ohio State.